Thailand, travel hub of Southeast Asia, lures travelers from all over the world with its pristine beaches, mouth-watering food, world-class diving, vibrant nightlife, and insane parties. You name it, Thailand’s got it.

Most visitors landing in Thailand make Bangkok their base while they circuit around Southeast Asia.

Budget your travel carefully as Thailand can be crazy expensive to moderately cheap depending on your travel plan.

Thai Baht or THB is the local currency of Thailand. You can easily exchange your currency once you arrive in Thailand. Use XE Currency to know the exchange rate.

Thailand Tourist Visa

If you do not fall under Visa exempt countries, you need a Tourist Visa to travel to Thailand. So, it’s better to inquire about Visa-related information before you head to Thailand.

You can obtain a Thai Visa at a Thai embassy located at home or abroad. The Tourist Visa allows you to stay up to 60 days, with an extension of another 30 days.

Estimation of Daily Budget in Thailand

Estimation of Daily Budget in Thailand

 

The travel expenses can range from cheap to expensive depending on your personal expenditure. An estimated daily cost in Thailand ranges between $30-$35, with accommodation comprising a large chunk of that cost.

You can cut down costs to travel cheaper if you have a really tight budget. Here is a rough estimation of daily cost

Accommodation Food (Meal for One) Transport
  • Budget: $6 (dorm), $10-15 (private)

 

  • Mid-Range: $20-30

 

  • Fancy: $40++
  • Street food: $1-3

 

  • Normal Restaurant: $5-10

 

  • Fancy restaurant: $15++
  • Songthaew (red jeep): $0.60

 

  • Tuk Tuk: $1-5 depending on the distance

 

  • Overnight buses: $15 (regular) $20 (VIP)

 

  • Trains: $35 (1st class with your own bed) $12 (3rd class train)

Traveling Thailand

Traveling Thailand

For a backpacker, the best travel itinerary would be of 4 weeks with an estimated cost of around $1100 per person. However, you can cut your travel short to 2 weeks and visit mainstream places only.

Here’s a 4 weeks travel itinerary prepared to help you explore Thailand

4 weeks Thailand Itinerary

Part I: Northern Thailand

Day 1-2: Bangkok

Bangkok

Well-connected by air and land, Bangkok will be a starting point for most travelers. Once you land in Bangkok, use your first day to adapt to the weather, stroll around the streets, taste the delicious Thai cuisine, and rest to cure your jet-lag.

On the second day, hire a bicycle to tour peaceful Buddhist temples in the lesser known side of Bangkok, walk to the famous temples such as Wat Pho and Wat Phra Kaew, visit Chinatown and leave partying on Khao San road for the return back delight.

Don’t linger too much in Bangkok as you will be returning back here.

Where to stay in Bangkok?

Hostel’s name Starting Price (USD) Rating (out of 10)
Home Mali Hostel 8.44 10
Baan Gaysorn Hostel 14.56 9.8
Our Secret Base 12.03 9.8
Check-in My Hostel 10.44 9.7

Day 3: Sukhothai

Sukhothai

Catch an early 8-hours train to Sukhothai, enjoy the rural landscapes through the window as you travel. Spend the day exploring the outskirts of Sukhothai temple. Sukhothai is one of the two big complexes of temple ruins in Thailand.

Instead of spending a night in Sukhothai, grab a 12+ hour overnight train to Chiang Mai. You will not only save time and cost but also experience the fun of the sleeper train.

Day 4-7: Chiang Mai

Chiang Mai

The ancient walled city, Chiang Mai, offers cheap accommodations and delightful restaurants to the backpackers. After Bangkok, Chiang Mai is the largest city in Thailand yet it is a good value for your money.

Explore Doi Inthanon National Park, known as ‘The Roof of Thailand’. The park inhabited by 362 species of birds so it’s famous for birdwatching. Trek along the trails as you pass through several waterfalls.

Go for a Chiang Mai Night Safari. While you are at it, hand-feed the animals, take pictures with tiger cubs, tune up to the erratic rhythm of dancing fountain and enjoy the after-dark laser light show.

What more, join a Thai cooking class, roam around night markets or go on a hill tribe trek.

Seeking adventure? Take an epic motorbike journey to Pai from Chiang Mai.

Where to stay in Chiang Mai?

Hostel’s Name Starting Price (USD) Rating (out of 10)
Tanita House 22.15 9.8
Tangmo House 5.06 9.8
Lana Beds & Spaces 15.51 9.8
The Islander Chiang Mai 6.01 9.8

Day 8-11: Pai or Mae Hong Son

Pai or Mae Hong Son

A little town north in Thailand, Pai has become a favorite stop among backpackers in Thailand. Located in a beautiful area of rolling hills and mysterious peaks, Pai has incredible hiking routes.

Take a day trip to the Tham Lot Caves, rest stop to drench in waterfalls and to plunge in hot springs along the way.

Rent a motorbike in Pai and ride through the sparsely populated Mae Hong Son to get an authentic taste of Thailand. The town of Chiang Dao makes a good alternative to those who are seeking escape from the craziness of larger cities.

Where to stay in Pai?

Hostel’s Name Starting Price (USD) Rating (out of 10)
Common Grounds Pai 10.13 9.2
Deejai Pai Backpackers 6.33 9.0
Green Hostel and Skate Park 7.28 9.2
Happy House Backpackers 5.70 9.0

Optional: Chiang Rai (2 days)

Chiang Rai

Chiang Rai makes a good base for visiting contemporary Buddhist temples, trekking along hill tribe trails, and cycling around the countryside.

Go mountain trekking and wander around forests, waterfalls, and rivers of the Lum Nam Kok National Park. The trek includes a provincial homestay in a hilltop village. However, you have to extend your stay to go for hill tribe trekking.

Short on time? Visit the White Temple, Blue Temple, and Black House which lie on the outskirts of Chiang Rai. Better, rent a scooter to squeeze your exploration of Chiang Rai to a couple of days.

Where to Stay in Chiang Rai?

Hostel’s Name Starting Price (USD) Rating (out of 10)
Mercy Hostel 6.76 9.2
Connect Hostel 6.25 9.2
Tong Siam 8.42 10
Get Hi Hostel 7.97 9.9

Part II: Bangkok and Andaman Coast

Day 12-14: Back to Bangkok

Bangkok Thailand

The tour in the Northern part of Thailand is complete now, it’s time to hit the beach, yay! But, make a rest stop and party in Bangkok. You can opt between riding a train back or speeding things up with a domestic flight.

After some peaceful time in the North, you are mentally strong to dive deeper into the bustling Bangkok city. Cross out the places you visited on the day of your arrival.

Ride a ferry along Chao Phraya River, that flows through Bangkok, to observe the contrast between high rise apartments on one side and sandy wooden shacks on the other.

Visit the floating markets, shout out at a Muay Thai fight, and shop at Chatuchak Weekend Market. What else? Get a taste of Thai street foods or eat out at Chinatown.

Witness a classic puppet show whilst live orchestra music plays in the background.

Rejuvenate yourself with a traditional Thai massage and head out to experience Bangkok’s nightlife. Don’t lose the track of time while you indulge in Bangkok’s nightlife.

Day 15-16 Krabi

Krabi

Time to hit the beach! Yay! Take a train to Surat Thani and travel onwards till you reach Krabi. An alternative would be to take a flight to Surat Thani and hit the road to Krabi.

Speaking of Krabi, do not forget to try out rock climbing on tall karst cliffs. While Krabi town is a popular choice to stay, I recommend you to stay in Ao Nang, right along or nearer to the beach.

From Ao Nang, take a boat south to Railay beach, one of the most sought out beaches in Thailand. Walk along the eye-catching white sand beaches, behold soaring limestone cliffs, explore caves, and discover a hidden lagoon inside the cliffs.

If the crowd overwhelm you then escape to the islands such as Koh Lanta, Koh Ngai, Koh Jum, etc. Deep down the Thung Teao Forest Natural Park, you will find vibrantly colored Emerald pool and Blue pool.

Just a 90-minute ferry ride away from Krabi town lies the loveliest island of Thailand, Phi Phi Island. The activities on this island range from snorkeling to scuba diving, hiking to rock climbing.

Where to stay in Krabi?

Hostel’s name Starting Price (USD) Rating (out of 10)
Slumber Party Hostel 6.06 9.4
Slumber Party Ao Nang Beach 7.97 9.0
Reset Hostel 10.58 9.8
Kbunk 6.38 9.2

Day 17-19: Khao Sok National Park

Khao Sok National Park

Halt strolling around beaches, time to go for a stimulating jungle tour.

Though you can visit Khao Sok National Park independently, I suggest taking an organized tour instead. You can book 2 or 3-days adventure of the park from Krabi.

Experience cooking and eating traditional Thai dishes, that too, in one of a kind wild jungle setting.

Take a full day Cheow Lan Lake trip, feast on a floating restaurant and hike to an ancient bat cave.

Select night safari and tour with an experienced guide into the jungle to locate the nocturnal creatures. Feed and bathe retired elephants at Elephant Retirement Sanctuary.

A canoe trip at Sok river, suitable for everyone, provides you a unique perspective of the jungle.

Where to stay in Khao Sok National Park?

The Khao Sok lake national park provides an exceptional opportunity to spend a night on a floating bungalow. Amazing! Right? However, the accommodations are a bit rough without air conditioning and other comforts. So, take that into consideration.

For staying, find your perfect accommodation on Riverside Cottages website.

Day 20-22 Koh Lanta

Koh Lanta

Neither too developed nor crowded, Koh Lanta offers a peaceful atmosphere, unoccupied long beaches, and spectacular sunsets. With plenty of activities to do and places to visit, Koh Lanta is the perfect destination for backpackers.

Rent a motorbike and circle around the island of Koh Lanta. Walk on the golden sand, swim in the pristine warm water and watch the sunset.

Stroll Around Koh Lanta Old Town– a village of teak stilted houses overlooking the sea. Take a day trip to Trang Islands and spend the day snorkeling, kayaking, and island hopping around the gorgeous limestone islands.

Where to stay in Koh Lanta?

Hostel’s Name Starting Price (USD) Rating (out of 10)
Slacklines Hostel 6.38 8.7
Best Stay Hostel At Lanta 8.29 9.1
The Zoo 3.75 9.2
Wayla Hostel 6.38 9.6

Part III: The Gulf Coast

Day 23-24: Koh Phangan

Koh Phangan

Famed for the non-stop crazy parties, Koh Phangan organizes the Full Moon Party.

The trip to Koh Phangan would be incomplete without attending the infamous Full Moon Party. Over the years, they have expanded parties to half-moon party, black moon party and so on.

What else can you do in Koh Phangan? Eat to the fullest in the Night Market. You can choose between varieties of seafood. The dish ranges from traditional Thai cuisine to sushi, fried potatoes and many more.

Set a day aside to explore the beaches near Koh Phangan. Travel to Ang Thong National Marine Park for swimming and snorkeling. Out there, you can opt for overnight camping at a minimal fee.

A more active approach would be to kayak around Ang Thong Marine Park. Pump your adrenaline level up at Challenge Phangan waterpark.

Tired of beaches? Trek up to the tallest mountain or head to the Phaeng Waterfall National Park.

Where to stay in Koh Phangan?

Hostel’s Name Starting Price (USD) Rating (out of 10)
Dancing Elephant Beach Club 15.41 8.8
Phanganist Hostel 15.65 8.6
Shiralea Backpackers Resort 9.44 8.9
Saparote 9.88 9.0

Day: 25-26 Koh Tao

Koh Tao

Koh Tao is not that beautiful compared to other Islands in Thailand, but it happens to be the scuba diving capital of Thailand. So, snorkel and scuba dive!

Visit Koh Nang Yuan to witness one of the most stunning archipelagos, a strip of sand connecting three small islands. Hike along the coast from Mae Haad to Chalok.

Let’s come to Scuba diving, the number one reason for visiting Koh Tao. If you have been holding off your interest in scuba diving then Koh Tao is just the place to start. There are shallow spots in the ocean to learn scuba diving.

Not certified to scuba dive? Do not worry. You can still go on an awesome snorkeling cruise to glance at the marine life. It’s easier and cheaper.

Where to stay in Koh Tao?

Hostel’s Name Starting Price (USD) Rating (out of 10)
Bed and Ink Hostel Koh Tao 12.75 9.0
Taco Shack Hostel Sairee Beach 12.59 8.9
Summer Hostel Koh Tao 7.97 8.3
Goodtime Beach Backpackers Koh Tao 12.75 8.2

Day 27-28 Bangkok

Bangkok

Finally, it’s time to head back to Bangkok again. Take a ferry from Koh Tao to Koh Samui and take a quick flight back to Bangkok.

If you still have time left in your schedule then continue to explore Bangkok or journey to the nearby areas such as Kanchanaburi or Khao Yai National Park.

You will always find things to get indulged in Bangkok. Before you head back, rejuvenate yourself with traditional Thai massage.

How To Shorten the Route?

4 weeks is the ideal time to fully explore Thailand, without missing anything.

However, if you are short on time and want to cut your travel short then you can opt for 3 weeks or 2 weeks itinerary

3 weeks Thailand Itinerary

3 weeks Thailand Itinerary

Day 1-2: Bangkok

Day 3: Ayutthaya

Day 4-6: Chiang Mai

Day 7: Phuket (or Krabi)

Day 8-10: Koh Yao Noi

Day 11-14: Koh Jum and Koh Lanta

Day 15-16: Krabi

Day 17-19: Koh Samui, Koh Phangan, and Koh Tao

Days 20-21: Bangkok

2 weeks Thailand Itinerary

2 weeks Thailand Itinerary

Day 1-2: Bangkok

Day 3: Ayutthaya

Day 4-6: Chiang Mai

Day 7-9: Krabi/Railay

Day 10-12: Koh Lanta

Day 13-14: Bangkok

Travel Phrases for Thailand

Travel Phrases for Thailand

If you are male, end sentences with the word (khrup/krap) similarly if you are female, end your sentences with the word (ka/kap). That’s how you make a polite and respectful sentence or question.

  • Hello: Sawadee khrup/ka
  • Yes: Chai (khrup/ka)
  • No: Mai (khrup/ka)
  • Maybe: Aaj ja (khrup/ka)
  • Thank you: khop khun (khrup/ka)
  • Sorry/excuse me: Khor thoad khrup/ka
  • No worries: Mai pen rai
  • Can you speak English? : Kun pood paasaa anggrit dai mai
  • I need a doctor: Phom dong gaan hai mor maa raak sa khrup/ka

What to Eat in Thailand?

What to Eat in Thailand

  • Tom Yum Goong (Spicy Shrimp Soup): A bold, refreshing mixture of aromatic lemongrass, chilies, galangal, lime leaves, shallots, with lime juice and fish sauce shapes this classic soup.
  • Pad Thai (Thai style Fried Noodles): Dipped dried rice noodles stir-fried with eggs, diced tofu, flavored with tamarind pulp, fish sauce, dried shrimp, garlic, red chili pepper, palm sugar, and served with lime wedges or chopped roasted peanuts.
  • Som Tum (Spicy Green Papaya Salad): A fantastic raw Thai salad often made of shredded unripe papaya, sliced tomatoes, raw yardlong beans, peanuts, dried mini shrimp, and fresh garlic, with the occasional addition of carrots, green or purple cabbage.
  • Tom Kha Kai (Chicken in Coconut Soup): A light twist on Tom Yum, Tom Kha Kai infuses thinly sliced galangal, crushed shallots, hot chilies, lemongrass stalks, strips of chicken.with coconut milk.
  • Gaeng Daeng (Red Curry): Red curry is a popular Thai dish containing red curry paste cooked in coconut milk with meat such as chicken, beef, pork, duck or shrimp, or tofu.

You simply can’t miss these dishes. They are just delicious!

Weather in Thailand

Weather in Thailand

Between November and May, the weather in northern Thailand is mostly dry. The month of March to May has higher temperatures compared to that of November to February.

Although the northeast monsoon does not directly affect the northern area of Thailand, it brings cool breezes from November to February.

The southwest monsoon dominates the other months from May to November and showers the Northern region with the heaviest rainfall.

The southern region of Thailand has two seasons: the wet and the dry. These seasons do not occur at the same time on both the east and west sides of the peninsula.

On the west coast, the southwest monsoon brings rain with frequent storms from April to October, while on the east coast experience rainfall between September and December.

Overall, the southern parts of Thailand receive the heaviest rain, around 2,400 millimeters every year, while the central and northern regions of Thailand get around 1,400 millimeters of rainfall.

DestinationJan (°C)Feb (°C)Mar (°C)Apr (°C)May (°C)Jun (°C)Jul (°C)Aug (°C)Sep (°C)Oct (°C)Noc (°C)Dec (°C)
Ayutthaya323436363534333232323131
Bangkok323334353433333232323131
Chiang Mai283134353331303030292928
Khao Lak313333333231303030303030
Koh Samet333333343332323231323232
Koh Samui293333343333323232312929
Krabi313334343232323131313030
Phuket313233333231313130303031
Udon Thani293134353332323131313029

Best Time to Travel Thailand

Best Time to Travel Thailand

The best time to travel Thailand is between November and early April when the climate is cool and dry. Sadly, this season is also the busiest time of the year.

The months of winter are the best for diving and snorkeling.

The weather on the east coast stays fine for most time of the year, with the lowest rainfall in January and February and the highest in November.

Safety in Thailand

Safety in Thailand

Thailand is a safe country to travel, but be wary while dealing with strangers, locals and foreigners alike.

Lock your room and be extra careful when leaving your valuables behind in hotel safes. Carry your belongings such as passport, money and credit cards while you travel.

Be cautious about scams, which are pretty common, and prevent yourself from being ripped off. Understand the culture and make sure you don’t offend them while you travel.

Thailand is strict on drugs. Possession of drugs results in a year or more of prison time. So, keep that in mind and stay away from trouble.

Travel tips for Thailand

  • Bring insect repellent
  • Drink bottled water
  • Choose your street food wisely
  • Make sure to carry cash while you travel to the rural parts
  • Bring a padlock

What to Do in Thailand?

Thailand Islands

  • Visit Wat Pho To See The Reclining Buddha

Reclining Buddha stands 15 meters tall and 46 meters long, the whole statue is covered in gold, with feet alone measuring over 5 meters. A visit to the lying Buddha is a must.

  • Go Island Hopping in Thailand

There are over 300 islands in Thailand but stick to your travel plan and visit only a few. Look out for some of the best islands in Thailand and go island hopping.

  • Roam around Chatuchak Market

With 8000+ stalls covering an area of 27 acres, Chatuchak Market is one of the largest markets in the world. The market opens up every Saturday and Sunday, attracting around 200,000 visitors each day. You will be amazed by the things you can find over here.

  • Boat Trip along the Chao Phraya River

Bangkok, referred to as the ‘Venice of the East,’ as Chao Phraya River flows through the heart of Bangkok. Take a boat and witness the contrast between calm and chaotic, modern and traditional, ugly and sublime, foreign and local along the banks of Chao Phraya River.

  • Go Diving

While you are in Thailand do not miss out on the experience of diving. Thai Islands holds some of the world’s best diving spots, Koh Tao being the most popular… Almost every island owns a dive shop. So, dive down to explore the aquatic world.

  • Savor delicacy of the street food

Every busy road has street food vendors selling their products to the locals and tourists alike. The prices are low as most Thais eat their food outside. Binge on delicious street food.

  • Watch Muay Thai (Kickboxing)

Muay Thai is the national sport of Thailand. With the whole Thailand full of kickboxing, the best fights take place in Bangkok. Shout out loud while you witness the intense Muay Thai boxers fighting.

  • Participate in a Water Fight During Songkran

Songkran is the traditional Thai New Year festival celebrated every year between April 13 to April 1. You are in luck if you end up in Thailand in the month of April so, rejoice yourself with a water fight.

  • Get a Thai Massage

Thai massages are different from those regular massages with oils. It includes a lot of hitting and smacking, the masseuse might even walk on your back but in the end, you will feel rejuvenated and relaxed.

Thai massages cost about $6-$10 for an hour and believe me! It’s one of the cheapest massages in Thailand.

  • Lose yourself in Full Moon Party

An all-night beach party originated on the island of Ko Pha-ngan, Full Moon Party, takes place before or after every full moon.

Loud sound systems turn the 800-meter beach into an open-air nightclub, probably one of the biggest night clubs in the world.

Great ambiance, lot of alcohol and lively atmosphere puts Full Moon Party into the bucket list of every traveler visiting Thailand. The party lovers can’t afford to miss this party.

Diving in Koh Tao

Final Say

Backpacking Thailand aims to guide you through Thailand, to make sure you get the most out of your travel in Thailand.

Go and explore Thailand to experience what you have read in this guide. Make sure you prepare well before you travel. Travel responsibly and have a great time in Thailand!

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